La Guillotine Permanente: A French Revolutionary Timeline

Hopefully enough steam can develop behind giving women the vote to have it come earlier.
I was wondering about that. With Robespierre's stronge support among women and the generally continuing progressive/radical nature of TTL's French Republic, will this lead to a greater and much earler push for women's rights?

There's also slavery, with it presumably not getting re-legalized.
 
I wonder if ittl it will be the Spanish who sell Louisiana to the US, since apparently they were in some financial troubles and the US was getting annoyed at Spain regularly shutting them out of the port at New Orleans
 
Something that interests me is the question of Haiti. While the Leclerc Expedition was probably the worst case scenario for Haiti, most experts I’ve talked to on Haiti during the revolution would think the alternates, even under the Jacobins, would not have been a vast improvement.

They had an extremely flawed idea of Haiti, thinking that emancipation from slavery would have been enough and that they’d be perfectly fine with working under a republican plantation system. Eventually, something was gonna give, either the plantation, and all that money goes out, or Haiti revolts for real and abolishes it by force, with Toussaint most likely getting killed for trying to walk the tightrope.




Some pretty good articles on Haiti during the revolution and Napoleon, does not offer much optimism and it looks like, unless something of a miracle happens, Haiti is gonna be screwed in a majority of the scenarios.
 
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Really enjoyed the nuanced and in-depth looks into the particulars and contradictions of local Jacobinisms, outstanding work.

And seeing Babeuf thrive is just a delight to read.

Amazing work so far, keep it up!
 
I don't know but, in my mind, I can imagine Napoleon calling Robespierre a moderate. Napoleon being a sympathizer of Babouvism, essentially a proto-communist movement, is not something I expected, ngl!

Wonderful update.
 
Some pretty good articles on Haiti during the revolution and Napoleon, does not offer much optimism and it looks like, unless something of a miracle happens
That's sealion press, they're a pessimist bunch.
Just introduce a mandatory 30% of arable land to be destined to foods while you keep the rest for sugarcane export, the loyalists' bayonets will enforce it.
 
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How much was the law of 22 Prarial restricted ? Otherwise, cool TL. It is nice to see TL from this period which does not focus (exclusively) on Napoleon.
 
I gotta admit, wondering what Napoleon would have done under Robespierre is a small past time I’ve enjoyed.

My imagination makes me believe he’d be the chief general of the revolution by not only his success, but because his patrons are some of the most prominent people in the republic. Would be interesting to see if Napoleon would have a voice in what the army will look like in the future as I do think that he’d have some influence in how it looks, despite French revolutionary distrust of generals.

Also, I do wonder for his politics. He was a political chameleon for most of his life, so he’s probably at least paying lip-service to radicalism, but he might still believe in what he believed in reality. Still, at least he’s getting his wish for a strong, centralized state instead of the weakness of the Directory, so he must be happy about that.
 
Considering how progressive said constitution was, I do not see how that would be a good thing.
Well that’s my point. National Security has held it off for now, but with the war over the Mountain is gonna have to let it come soon. Which may shake up who’s on top. Especially with the whole “1/10th of the Cantons can veto anything, and everything has to be voted on by them.”
 
Well that’s my point. National Security has held it off for now, but with the war over the Mountain is gonna have to let it come soon. Which may shake up who’s on top. Especially with the whole “1/10th of the Cantons can veto anything, and everything has to be voted on by them.”
Stupid me, I misunderstood. Well, in that case we are in agreement.
 
I discovered a few small facts today, pertinent to this timeline- first, French or American coinage bore Liberty upon them- although they both first started being minted in 1794. Both bear Liberty on them, and American and French coinage(at least while France was a Republic) bore Liberty to the 1930's and 40's in case of the US, and until 1990 with France.

The second is the French's use of decimal time. 10 hours per day, 100 minutes per hour, 100 seconds per minute. Instituted before the Thermidorian Reaction, and lasted not that long after. So I presume that's another thing that's sticking around- and while timezones are irrelevant so far, the French, in real life, had Paris as their prime meridian until 1911. That is likely not going away, although I do wonder what crazy things they'll do when people start thinking about timezones.
 
How much was the law of 22 Prarial restricted ? Otherwise, cool TL. It is nice to see TL from this period which does not focus (exclusively) on Napoleon.
The law was restricted in that acquittal or death were no longer the only options available for the Revolutionary Tribunal. I think the abundance of TL's that focus on Napoleon is due to people viewing his rise to power (and his coronation) as inevitable rather than events that only occurred due to pretty specific events that might not have happened.
 
think the abundance of TL's that focus on Napoleon is due to people viewing his rise to power (and his coronation) as inevitable rather than events that only occurred due to pretty specific events that might not have happened.
Partially yes, but I would say it also due to Napoleon being seen as cool of sorts.
EDIT: Only in this way ? I mean, allowing other options outside "acquittal or death" is progress to be sure, but I assumed more from the text. From The Wiki it also prohibited witnesses and defense counsel. Such prohibitions are antithetical to due process, which update claims to have restored. Do not takes this in a wrong way, but I think you have been a bit too vague in said update about things like this.
 
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Chapter 10: A Melody Across Nations
Chapter 10
A Melody Across Nations
French Revolution - World History Encyclopedia


"As the symphony of revolution resounds in our souls, let us compose a grand opus that transcends borders, crossing oceans and traversing mountains, its harmonies resonating in the hearts of our brothers and sisters in foreign lands, uniting us in our shared pursuit of liberty and justice."
Filippo Buonarroti, 1795


The hegemonic position that France now held in Europe had reverberations far beyond its borders. For example, in the United States of America, debates divided the country regarding the fundamental nature of its government. Two of the central issues dividing the young nation were that of its constitution and its relationship with its former overlord Great Britain. Against the wishes of its President, the still almost unanimously popular George Washington, political parties had sprung up with opposing viewpoints on these issues. The aforementioned political parties were the Federalist Party, led by the Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, and the Democratic-Republican Party, led by Thomas Jefferson [1]. The Federalists held that a strong central government was necessary to weld the states together while they were hot and to repair its broken relationship with its cultural and ideological origins in Great Britain. On the other hand, the Democratic-Republicans were firmly opposed to the centralization of power and were Francophiles by nature. They argued that the Constitution stripped too much power away from the states to empower the federal government. They also deemed the French Republic as ideologically far closer to the United States in terms of Enlightenment ideals than Great Britain. They also viewed mending relations with Great Britain as nothing short of a betrayal of the French nation in its hour of greatest need, especially after the essential aid it had granted to the United States in its struggle for freedom. This left a debt that had to be repaid, the Democratic-Republicans argued. [2]

In addition to the issue of the Constitution, the greatest matter of contention was that of the Jay Treaty (so named as it was negotiated by Chief Justice and Federalist John Jay), which sought to repair relations with Great Britain. Democratic-Republicans saw the treaty as overly favorable to the British, particularly the clauses that mandated that the United States allow the British to seize American goods headed for France (with payment) and French goods headed for America (without payment). One issue of much consternation was the continued impressment of American sailors by the British Navy, which remained an unresolved issue. The treaty was signed on the 19th of November, 1794 [3], and submitted to the United States Senate for ratification in June of the following year [4]. One of the main arguments in favor of ratification of the treaty was the decline of France as a great power of Europe in the wake of the French Revolution. It was argued that it was nothing short of folly to remain sentimental to French sacrifices for American freedom, while the United States remained politically and economically fragile. This argument received a heavy blow in the wake of rapid French successes that put France in an almost unprecedented position of power in European geopolitics. Now, the shoe was on the other foot, and the Democratic-Republicans could accuse the Federalists of what the former had previously been accused by the latter of doing, sentimentally attaching itself to a power on the decline and alienating the new hegemon. Consequently, the ratification of the Jay Treaty was narrowly defeated by a slim margin. The failure of the treaty was a major blow to the Federalists and a major victory for the Democratic-Republican cause. In particular, Alexander Hamilton and Vice President John Adams, who had been firm champions of the treaty, saw their credibility suffer a severe blow. Eight British forts still stood within American territory near the border, proving to be a sticking point for the Democratic-Republicans as well as the source of much Anglophobe fear-mongering. The failure of the treaty also served to embolden certain radical Francophile Democratic-Republicans writers, who proclaimed that the only suitable agreement for the United States was that of an ultimatum, delivered at bayonet point. This remained an uncommon view; however, it had its firm adherents within the growing radical wing of the Democratic-Republican Party, which was beginning to flirt with Jacobinism.

Jacobin thought was also taking hold in the very heart of the British Empire, London itself. The city had already been home to the Revolution Society [5], founded in 1788, which was succeeded by the London Corresponding Society after the former society was dissolved. The society, reportedly consisting of 5,000 members (a number that ballooned up to a staggering 80,000 members according to its frenzied and fear-mongering critics), consisted of many middle-to upper-class members of society. These men were often bourgeois intellectuals, who were everything from barristers and attorneys to physicians. Despite the pull these members often had, the society was firmly a primarily working-class association, with its stated goal being to represent those 'few in number and humble in situation and circumstances.’ This resulted in critics denigrating its working-class members as 'the very lowest order of society…filthy & ragged…wretched looking blackguards' who were being unscrupulously led by a minority 'who possess strong but unimproved faculties. ’ This characterization is at odds with reality, as most working-class members of the association were politically literate artisans, and the members of higher social standing rarely took official authoritative positions of leadership in the society for fear that the ordinary members would be discouraged from 'exerting themselves in their own cause.’

The society was firmly reformist in nature, and any talk of revolutionary or republican action was discouraged. The political platform of the society was intended to appeal to every day, working men of London with calls for universal male suffrage and parliamentary reform, in particular an end to rotten boroughs [6]. Gradually, due to the rapidly changing fortunes in the war against France, the demands of reformists began to expand. Anti-war sentiments took hold and demands for an immediate peace settlement along with them. Food prices soared due to the war, and the government failed to remedy this with any price control measures. Instead, the government resolved to let the situation solve itself, adopting a laissez-faire approach to the crisis, to great discontent among the English lower classes. Working class reformists were growing increasingly bold and radical in response to the ongoing crises, forming 'Liberty Associations' to better disseminate their ideas and organize themselves, and increasingly developing republican and anti-monarchist ideas, much to the dread of the government, who were growing alarmed at the apparent marshaling of Paris-esque sans-culottes in their very own backyard. The government proved to be ineffective at suppressing these groups because of their decentralized nature.

Certain members of the society had made contact with the United Irishmen [7], prompting them to start revolutionary societies of their own. These societies were entirely secret and only open to the most radical of reformists, and they remained relatively small for the time being, with the most consequential being the Society of United Englishmen, which aligned itself ideologically with its Irish counterpart. It is worth noting that while the London Corresponding Society is certainly the reformist organization that is among the most celebrated today (and most feared by its contemporary enemies), London was by no means the area in which reformism carried the most weight. Indeed, the hotbed of radical thought and the center of reformism was in the much-neglected north of England, where discontent and opposition to the government ran rife. The area was populated by many smaller independent reformist organizations that remained disunited due to government repression. Forging these disparate and remote associations into one united revolutionary movement was a considerable ambition on which the United Englishmen set their sights. For the time being, however, they mainly focused on outreach and support for the Liberty Associations of London.

Ireland itself was in a state of uneasiness, as the United Irishmen carefully prepared for their coming rebellion. The society (which heavily consisted of non-Anglican Protestants) began reaching out to Catholic groups such as the agrarian secret society the Defenders [8], where they gained an invaluable ally in emphasizing their non-sectarian nature. The United Irishmen had built an incredibly sophisticated underground network, where money acquired from wealthy Belfast merchants and the French government was used to purchase weapons shipments to be smuggled into the island, then through the society's members, distributed to rebel cells all across the island, which were organized by Catholic priests. A newspaper had been created, the Northern Star, which had become extremely popular because it focused almost entirely on local Irish issues as opposed to its more British and internationally minded counterparts. The newspaper was invaluable in spreading United Irishmen views and did much to spread political consciousness throughout Ireland. The United Irishmen had also reached out to Scotland to try to gain support which had (somewhat unintentionally) sparked the creation of another Society, the Society of the United Scotsmen [9] whose goals were effectively the same as their Irish counterparts. By 1795 [10] the Society may have had over 3,000 members (it is impossible to know for sure how many members were in any British radical political society at the time due to their secrecy and decentralized nature.)

An interesting standoff had recently developed in Ireland after five regiments of the British army stationed there were to be sent to fight in Haiti. The 104th, 105th, 111th, 112th and 113th regiments (consisting mostly of northern Englishmen) simply refused to leave their posts of Dublin and Cork for Hispaniola, viewing the mission as a death sentence. James Dixon, an Irish Mancunian, and United Englishman, immediately departed for Dublin upon hearing the news. There, he swiftly made contact with both the officers in the regiments as well as radical Whig politicians in the government who were sympathetic to both the London Corresponding Society (with which the United Englishmen were heavily connected) and the plight of the soldiers. Dixon was able to gain the soldiers' trust and respect through this, as well as helping them to some extra pay through some of his generous benefactors. Dixon also bonded with them regarding their shared experiences as northerners. Dixon salivated over the unbelievable opportunity presented before him. He knew that the men held incredibly strategically important ground. If the regiments could seize both Cork and Dublin in favor of the United Irish, it would be an incredible victory. He also knew that it would vastly simplify a French invasion in support of a United Irishmen Rebellion. Moreover, it would provide the United Englishmen Society with an army of over 3,000 trained men, and no other radical English group could even come close to that amount of military strength. Dixon therefore, dedicated himself almost entirely to winning over the officers and soldiers of the four regiments, no matter what it took.

The French government became aware of these developments sometime after they occurred. The United Irish underground network also served as a very effective spy network, where much information could be passed on to the French. One area of information that was of surprising interest to the French was that of Wales. Wales was less of a revolutionary powder keg than Ireland, but there was still significant discontent. Currently, on death's door was one William Jones, a fervent Welsh nationalist and radical who had been referred to as the "Welsh Voltaire.” Jones had planted seeds of discontent that were ripe for exploitation in the future. Specifically, the erosion of the Welsh language and the Anglicization of the Welsh nobility, who were a far cry from the ancient heroics of time gone by, and were now effectively petty landlords in service of the English crown. This meant that there could be sizable support for Jacobinism if it appealed to the common Welsh peasantry, with promises of extensive land reform and the abolishment of oppressive and colonial English laws. This did not take much priority in the French government; however, as the Irish Expedition was viewed as the top military concern, with little room for other adventures. One option that was of considerable interest to Saint-Just, however, was that of a diversionary attack on Wales to distract from the actual target of Ireland. As an assault on Wales would effectively be a suicide mission, the men chosen for the task would have to be 'expendable'. Therefore, it was decided to offer political prisoners of the proper age a chance of amnesty in exchange for military service. 3,000 men were to be offered a chance for freedom in the service of the Republic. The man chosen to lead the mission was Gabriel d'Hédouville, who had been condemned as a noble in Year II. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Valmy and the Battle of Kaiserslautern and knew that the expedition to Wales was a suicide mission, but he agreed to it anyway, seeking to absolve himself of all suspicion. He also knew that any attempt to face the full-force British army in the field would be suicide; therefore, he would not face them at all. He decided to spend his time exhaustively studying the ongoing War in the Vendée, in particular the unconventional strategies and tactics that had been utilized by the Royalists within the past few years during the 'quiet' phase of the war.


GABRIEL-MARIE-THEODORE-JOSEPH HEDOUVILLE(1755-1825).jpg

Gabriel-Marie-Théodore-Joseph, comte d'Hédouville, a dead man walking.

The Committee of Public Safety was not the only one making invasion plans. Filippo Buonarroti had not been idle in terms of foreign policy since taking power in the Cispadane Republic. He immediately began using his extensive contacts with Italian revolutionary exiles to form an extensive network on the peninsula. When Bonaparte departed for Paris, Buonarroti executed his plans for an invasion of Genoa. He had long been anxious over the fact that the Italian Republics lacked a land border with France and that French transit had to come through the Cispadane port of Livorno (although this had its uses, as it meant that almost everyone within the revolutionary sphere had to go through the Cispadane Republic to reach the moderates in the Transpadane Republic.) Genoa had also been courting the British, with the ships of the Mediterranean Fleet under Admiral William Hotham being reported to have docked at Genoa. Claiming this as proof of a secret alliance between Genoa and Great Britain, the Cispadane Republic declared war on Genoa. Despite various inadequacies of the Cispadane army, the Genoese were far worse off, with chronic underfunding and corruption plaguing the Genoese army. Within days, the city of Genoa itself was surrounded on land. The mood within the city itself was mutinous because of the rampant wealth and social equality in the Merchant Republic. Having been offered generous terms of surrender by the Cispadane forces (and being more willing to face them than their snarling populace) The last Doge of Genoa, Giacomo Maria Brignole, surrendered. The Mediterranean Fleet had attempted to come to the aid of Genoa, but to no avail, and Admiral Hotham ordered a retreat to the British-held client state of Corsica. Violently opposed to this course of action was the Captain of the HMS Agamemnon, Horatio Nelson. Going against his direct orders, Nelson opted to instead order a daring raid to burn down the Genoese fleet, lest it fall into French hands. Time was of the essence, and Nelson was racing against the clock, hoping that the Genoese would delay their surrender long enough that Nelson could succeed in his self-appointed mission and escape with his ship mostly intact. Nelson had fatally miscalculated just how eager the Genoese were to save their own skins, however, as the Cispadane forces had rapidly seized control of the naval batteries and opened fire on his ship. A lucky cannonball tore him apart, and he proceeded to bleed to death. Confusion ran rampant on his ship after his death, and they were easy targets for Cispadane artillerymen. The HMS Agamemnon sunk to the depths of the Mediterranean to much celebration by the Italians.

In the aftermath of the conquest of Genoa, the wealth of its disproportionately wealthy merchants, whom the republic served, was redistributed to the desperate urban poor. Rather than proclaim a new republic, as some had expected, Filippo Buonarroti proceeded to annex Genoa directly into the Cispadane Republic, whose swift conquest shocked Sardinia-Piedmont, which immediately began to worry for its immediate future. Agitators in Turin (many of whom had made contact with Buonarroti during his time organizing Italian expatriates before the French liberation of northern Italy) were emboldened to begin openly organizing themselves against the feudalist regime. Buonarroti also set his sights on the Papal States and the Kingdom of Naples, the latter in particular due to the large number of exiles agitating for revolution from abroad.

However, the forces of counter-revolution were not content with merely being reactive. Following months of preparation, a fleet of 60 transport ships carrying an army of Émigrés as well as supplies capable of supplying a force of 40,000, escorted by 9 warships, landed in Brittany on 5 Messidor, Year III [11].



[1]: These men were obviously not the only leaders of their respective Parties, but they were the two most prominent ones at the time.

[2]: Again, somewhat simplified and the Democratic-Republican vs Federalist disagreements extended to a whole laundry list of other issues such as Federalist industrialism vs Democratic-Republican agrarianism and the Federalist central bank vs the Democratic-Republican being either against banks as a whole or just decentralized banking.

[3]: 29, Brumaire, Year II

[4]: 7, Messidor, Year III

[5]: The Revolution Society had actually both preceded and inspired the formation of the Jacobin Club, which was originally known as the Société de la Révolution, a direct French translation of the former.

[6]: Boroughs that have been vastly depopulated overtime but still retained their political representative power, providing easy and disproportionate political power to whoever represents it.

[7]: Specifically, Olaudah Equiano a former slave, who while travelling across the British Isles with his autobiography brokered many extremely valuable connections for the LDS, including the United Irishmen.

[8] :An agrarian Irish catholic secret society modeled after the free-masons focused on defense from protestant pro-British militias that expanded in scope over time.

[9] : While many similar Scottish radical societies existed, it was only after the arrival of an Irish revolutionary delegation that they became more unified under the same umbrella organization.

[10]: Year III

[11]: 23rd of June, 1795
 
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Good chapter, hopefully the revolutionaries in the British isles can make ever lasting change and here's to the Haitians beating back the British and make them regret ever setting foot there!
 
Using French ships to support the Irish rebels since like a more reasonable course of action than Napoleon's big-brain plan to invade Egypt. I think they could pull it off. However, this basically guarantees that the UK will never recognize the French Republic, meaning an almost perpetual state of war. I doubt the British will really tolerate the existence of a radical Republic beside them, so I expect a series of Revolutionary Wars that are going to last until the 1820s.
 
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